Sunday, February 14, 2010

Life's Important Discussions

Sitting in the doctor’s office this weekend, the new We Are The World video came on the television. Abi pointed it out. Specifically, she pointed out the sections that showed Haiti and the earthquake sites. She is quite aware of the situation with all of the local fund raising efforts.

Near the end of the video she said to me, “All of the people in Haiti are brown.”

“Well, no, honey, not all of them are. A lot of them are, but probably not all.”

“There are black people and yellow people and white people?” she inquired.

I was stoked. This was a moment to address diversity of skin color in our highly light skinned town with my increasingly socially aware daughter. I strove to seize the moment. “Sure. There are probably lots of different kinds of people there. Most of them are what some call ‘black’, which just means they have a deep brown skin, but…. “

“Brown skin… like Ray’s mom had brown skin??” she inquired.

“You remember the color of Ray’s’ mom’s skin?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said.

I was moved. She had met Ray, a dear friend of mine from high school, his son, and his mother once, in a pizza shop, during a trip to New Jersey and she couldn’t have been much more than 3 or 4. Ray’s wonderful mother has since passed after a fight with cancer. That Abi remembered the color of her skin, and brought it up now, of all times, was so touching to me.

“Wow, Abi, yes, you know Ray’s mom was….”


Moment lost.


  1. Wait a minute. Isn't SpongeBob yellow? Is that a teachable moment?

  2. What a great (even if lost) moment!

    Out of curiosity, do you know what her earliest memory is? I often wonder that about Ellie. My earliest memory isn't until I was 3 or 4 years old but my husband's was when he was just over 1 year old.

  3. BTW, the diversity was one of the things I liked more about MD than CO. I wish it weren't so white here.

  4. So, being from Jersey, do you talk about the people with orange skin? I've seen them on TV.

  5. I found your blog via Niffer and have been following along and thoroughly enjoying it. My daughter will be 3 yrs old next month and I'm moved to comment now because this EXACT topic came up for us this weekend too. I'm really happy to hear about how you attempted to seize the moment. Good job!

    Here is what happened with us:

  6. Something tells me when they're 15/16, those moments will continue to fleetingly come up ... and again be lost. Hopefully some of it will sink in by osmosis.

    And SpongeBob is yellow ... and quite entertaining, at times.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.